WASHINGTON---- One month before the President submits his 2009 budget request to Congress, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, urged the Bush Administration to support America’s small businesses by increasing funding for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Since the Bush Administration has taken office, the SBA’s budget has been cut by 31 percent. For 2008, Congress passed the first real funding increase for core small business programs – adding almost $40 million over the previous year’s budget request and actual funding.

“President Bush talks a lot about helping small businesses, but he hasn’t delivered. We are facing a tightening credit market and a tough employment outlook due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, which means it’s more important than ever that the Bush Administration puts their money where their mouth is and fully invests in America’s entrepreneurs,” said Senator Kerry. “The Democratic led Congress just passed the first funding increase for small business programs in seven years, and we’ll continue to fight for small businesses in a bipartisan way. We need to invest in training, capital and contracting programs that will help America’s small businesses remain competitive, drive our economy and create jobs.”

“As small businesses are our nation’s true job creators, it is critical that President Bush and Congress work together to adequately fund the Small Business Administration,” said Senator Snowe. “While the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act took a solid step toward raising SBA funding levels, I urge President Bush to use his upcoming Fiscal Year 2009 Budget to build on this momentum and propose sufficient funding for the Agency’s vital lending and business development programs. For an agency that receives a mere fraction of the total Federal budget, the SBA has consistently proved its value by creating or retaining more than 5.3 million jobs in the United States since 1999.”

Since 1999, the SBA's programs and services have helped to create or retain over 5.3 million jobs in the United States. Cuts in funding to the SBA have led to staffing shortages and lax oversight that resulted in $76 million in fraudulent loans issued by one of the SBA’s largest lenders.

Senators Kerry and Snowe will hold an oversight hearing at the end of the month to examine staffing shortages at the SBA, among other issues.

The read the full text of the letter to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, James Nussle, please click here.